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July | Poem

Photo by Teguh Sugi on
Bucharest 1918
by Harriet Levin Millan

An uncle was killed during the war
for wearing the wrong color hat.
He wasn’t a soldier. He didn’t see the rifle barrel
aimed at his neck. He was standing by the side

of the road watching a bird, a red-tailed woodpecker,
listening for its home. Death is a home
unseen by the side of the road,
the rifle barrel aimed. A bird listens with its neck.

During the war many uncles were killed.
They were not soldiers. They were wearing colorful hats.
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(Poem published by Narrative magazine.)

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